Sam Jackson and Leigh Terry placed first in the Marketing team event, and Alicia Gauker and Terry earned a sixth place finish for the Local Chapter Annual Business Report.
Jackson and Terry, who graduated this year as valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, have competed in FBLA events together throughout high school. Terry said placing first in marketing was “an incredible relief” after coming in second in the event twice before.
“We came just short of winning too many times, so finally placing first was a validation of how we had always felt about our performance,” Terry said. “It was great to know that no one did better than us; we were at the top of the podium.”
To win the competition, the pair first had to pass a written marketing exam. Of about 60 participants, 15 proceeded to the presentation portion. During that time, teams had 20 minutes to prepare solution to a marketing scenario and present it to a panel of judges.
Jackson, who is attending Auburn University this fall, said the judges asked them to formulate a plan to drive customers of a clothing store for young professionals to the store’s website.
“We knew what the judges required as far as our performance, so it was just a matter of running the situation through the marketing management model we studied,” he said. “We came up with some good options and listed the pros and cons.”
Prior to the competition, the team spent months studying marketing strategies and practicing scenarios, said SHS FBLA adviser Tyler Laye.
“They were reading textbooks, current news articles, studying real-life situations,” Laye said. “Anything they could get their hands on, they used to prepare. And they had some major competition at the national level, so it’s really remarkable that students from Sylacauga, Ala., were able to win first.”
Jackson and Terry, who will be attending the University of Alabama, also placed first at the state competition in April, where the SHS FBLA had a total of 39 winners in 26 different events.
“We are very proud of our winners, and our whole chapter,” Laye said. “We have done so well, and we’re looking forward to even more accomplishments in the future.”
All three of the students said FBLA has influenced their career goals. Gauker, who is attending Huntingdon College this fall, said FBLA impacted her life more than any other organization.
“It brought me out of my shell, showed me that I have the qualities of a leader and challenged me in every way,” she said. “Thanks to FBLA and the skills I acquired through it, I know for a fact I will be successful in college and the real world.”
SHS student Jackson Laye, who is Alabama FBLA State President, also accepted an award for the Alabama FBLA, which was recognized for raising more than $44,000 for March of Dimes this year.
SHS FBLA, which has more than 100 members, was one of only four schools in Alabama to place at the national conference. In addition to the three students who placed, the following SHS students competed: Kristen Archer, Kelsey Baird, Payton Culver, Matthew Griffitt, Laye, Erin Martin, Aja Miller, Abi Oden, Elijah Sanders and Maya Williams.
Laye said next year’s FBLA officers plan to increase membership, member involvement, community service, business partnerships and fundraising.
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